Advancing Human Security and Community Resilience

Focus Area: Inclusive Education

When Education Endures, Resilience Rises – Mitigating Learning Losses Through Digital and Literacy Tools for Teachers and Students

15 November 2021

COVID-19 has Threatened Inclusive and Equitable Education

With COVID-19, more than 1.6 billion children have been affected. In fact, two-thirds of the world's school-aged children do not have internet access at homes during the pandemic, and 77 million children have not set foot in the classroom in the past 18 months. Due to the pandemic too, 10 million additional girls are at risk of child marriages and 24 million children are in danger of dropping out of school permanently. World Bank estimates that an additional 72 million primary school children will experience “learning poverty”, which is the inability to read and understand simple text by the age of 10.

Building Digital Capabilities for Education

Room to Read is a global non-profit organisation focused on creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality since 2000. It seeks to deepen impact and bring joy of reading to aspiring learners in Indonesia, South Africa, Vietnam, and India. Within Indonesia, Room to Read has reached 190,000 children today and established 210 school libraries across three separate regions. It also launched the Literacy Cloud in 2017 – a digital learning platform that offers high-quality digital storybooks for teachers, parents, and children. With the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture in Indonesia, Room to Read has reached 20 districts in Indonesia. The plan for the Call to Action is to now expand the programme to more districts across Indonesia and scale it to Vietnam, South Africa and India.

Adaptability is Key to Minimise Learning Losses; and New Way of Learning Emerges

To help support student's learning both at home and in school, Room to Read has had to adapt its intervention strategies. With that, they have been building and will continue to maintain strong relationships with government stakeholders and partners and engaging the various Ministry of Education in target countries, to plan appropriate and targeted education response to the pandemic and to strategise efforts to support learning continuity. Room to Read shared that the pandemic has allowed closer connections to be built with the local communities and schools; allowing new ways of working with and supporting teachers, families and students and establishing flexible and scalable ways of learning that provided stability and continuity for the children.